The Carolina Panthers have announced a sales agreement with David Tepper, as the billionaire hedge fund manager will buy the team from Jerry Richardson.
Recent reports had indicated that Tepper, the founder and president of Appaloosa Management, was closing in on an agreement to purchase the Panthers for a record sum. That transaction was announced on Wednesday by the Panthers, with the agreement pending the approval of NFL owners.
Though the sale price was not disclosed by the team, it has been reported that Tepper will pay a final price of $2.275 billion, including $2.2 billion up front. More from The Charlotte Observer:
The finalization of the deal was reported by the Observer on Tuesday morning.
While the news release from the team did not include financial details, a source close to the matter told the Observer that the final price Tepper will pay is $2.275 billion, $2.2 billion of which will be in cash up front.
That price tops the previous NFL record of $1.4 billion that Terry and Kim Pegula paid for the Buffalo Bills in 2014. In order for the sale to move forward, it will have to be approved by 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners at league meetings next week. Tepper is already a familiar name in NFL circles, however, as he purchased a five-percent stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009. His purchase of the Panthers is currently expected to close in July.
“I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next owner of the Carolina Panthers,” Tepper said in a press statement. “I have learned a great deal about the community and the team over the past several months and look forward to becoming part of the Carolinas. I want to thank Jerry Richardson and the other Panthers partners for all they have done to establish and develop the NFL in the Carolinas. It has been a remarkable 25-year journey and I promise to build upon the Panthers’ success on the field and in the community.”
It was announced in December that Richardson would put the team on the market after a report by Sports Illustrated indicated that at least four former Panthers employees were given monetary settlements after coming forward with complaints about inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by Richardson. The sale process began after the season, with Tepper emerging from a fairly competitive field of bidders to purchase the team.
“Bringing the Panthers and the NFL to the Carolinas in 1993 was enormously fulfilling for Rosalind and me and all of our partners,” Richardson said in a statement. “We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support over the last 25 years. You have taken the Panthers into your hearts and made them part of this warm and supportive community. We want to thank all of our past and present players, coaches and staff for their hard work in making the Panthers a great success both on the field and in the community. The personal relationships we have enjoyed have been very meaningful to us.
“I look forward to turning the stewardship of the Panthers over to David Tepper. I have enjoyed getting to know him in this process and am confident that he will provide the organization with great leadership in both its football and community initiatives. I wish David and his family the very best as they enter this exciting new phase of their lives.”
Going forward, there will be several areas to watch regarding Tepper’s ownership of the Panthers, including any plans for Bank of America Stadium. Tepper has not provided any indication that he will move the team, but it remains to be seen what plans will come together for the Panthers’ longterm facility situation. Bank of America Stadium has been renovated over the last few years–and there is reportedly the potential for more funds to become available in the coming years for future renovations–and it offers a solid location in downtown Charlotte. However, there has been speculation about whether it could be replaced with a domed or retractable-roof stadium. Such a facility could be pitched as a way to bring more high-profile events to Charlotte, including the NCAA Final Four and the Super Bowl.
Image courtesy Carolina Panthers.
RELATED STORIES: David Tepper to Purchase Carolina Panthers; Carolina Panthers Sale Process Builds Momentum; Carolina Panthers Could Now Begin Sale Process; Charlotte Group Prepares Pitch for Carolina Panthers; Carolina Panthers Hire Firms to Handle Sale Process; Could Carolina Panthers Ownership Change Lead to New Stadium?; Jerry Richardson to Sell Carolina Panthers Amidst Misconduct Allegations